I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘Roger Avary’

Crying Freeman

Monday, August 27th, 2012

CRYING FREEMAN (1995) is a pretty cool movie that I went back to hoping it would be better than I realized before. I did a brief write-up of it in a column years ago, but I’m not gonna link to it right now because most of the column is angry rants about what was going on in the news at the time and it makes me cringe. Based on a Japanese comic book (or “Japomic Book”) by the same writer as Lone Wolf and Cub, CRYING FREEMAN is a moody, serious assassin movie with Yakuza, mind control, a witch, romance and tragedy. It takes place in 4 different countries (U.S., Canada, China, Japan) with the most convincing, of course, being the part that takes place in Vancouver, B.C.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

True Romance

Monday, August 20th, 2012

TRUE ROMANCE is an entertaining, uniquely textured crime movie, a celebration of youthful love, kitsch, Asian exploitation cinema, and great character actors. At the time it seemed like a new feel, especially coming from Tony Scott. Now it’s more notable as a record of young, undisciplined Quentin Tarantino manning the word processor. (Roger Avary was hired to restructure the original non-linear story and write an ending where the hero doesn’t die – yeah, that sounds like young QT all right.)
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Boogie Boy

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I always root for Mark Dacascos to be in something really good. I love ONLY THE STRONG, and he’s in some other fun ones, like the ridiculous CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE. I’ve watched his movie DRIVE a couple times, not the one with Ryan Gosling but the one with Mark Dacascos. And Kadeem Hardison and Britney Murphy. People used to always try to push that one on me and I never really got into it, but he’s pretty good. He’s a good martial artist. I was always curious about this little known one from 1998 ’cause it’s him starring in some kind of crime movie executive produced by Roger Avary. Could be interesting, right?

Could’ve been. Wasn’t really. But here are a few words about it for the historic record.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Mr. Stitch

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

tn_mrstitchWell, not too many people got a chance to examine the evidence, but MR. STITCH was the first solid proof that Roger Avary could stand on his own without reminding anybody of his video store co-worker Quentin Tarantino. Two years after winning an Oscar for PULP FICTION he was directing a DTV movie. Of course around here we know there’s no shame in that, but I guess it was not the original plan, just what happened when him and Rutger Hauer couldn’t agree on anything, according to this old Entertainment Weekly article. Sounds like they really didn’t get along well at all. Could’ve been worse, I guess.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Killing Zoe

Friday, March 4th, 2011

tn_killingzoeToday I’d like to give a little nod to one of the undervalued sidekicks of cinema, the Steve James of filmatists. Roger Avary shares with Quentin Tarantino the best original screenplay Oscar for PULP FICTION. I always thought he was supposed to have just written the Bruce-Willis-lays-around-in-bed-talking-cute-with-a-French-lady portion, but Wikipedia says the accidental shooting of Marvin (SPOILER) and The Miracle of the Bullets That Totally Miss both came from an earlier screenplay by Avary. The two worked at a video store together (and also as production assistants on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video) and collaborated alot when they were coming up. For example Avary’s script was rewritten by Tarantino into TRUE ROMANCE, then Avary came in later on when Tony Scott was making the movie and wanted rewrites. He also wrote a little bit of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and the shit Steven Wright says on the radio in RESERVOIR DOGS and Tarantino was credited as executive producer on this one.

By the time of JACKIE BROWN Tarantino and Avary didn’t really seem to be working together anymore, so to people who haven’t paid attention to him since then it would be easy to think he might’ve just been a lucky buddy of Tarantino’s, riding in on the ol’ ’70s TV show referencing coattails. I think he’s since proven himself capable of standing on his own, it’s just that all his movies end up being misunderstood or underappreciated: he wrote and directed RULES OF ATTRACTION and wrote SILENT HILL and BEOWULF. All movies I like that a whole lot of people hate.

It’s gotta be hard living under the shadow of Tarantino, because #1 nobody can really live up to him and #2 the chin part of the shadow is just gigantic (wocka wocka). But I think Avary’s got some talent.
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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Vern’s Been To SILENT HILL!!

Friday, April 21st, 2006

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

And so has Quint and, to my great pleasure, so have I. I’m not sure when Quint’s going to write about it, or even if he is, but I’ve got some things to say, and I’ll do my best to get them on paper before I head to bed. For now, though, here’s the one and only Vern, and he and I are really in tune today, since he seems to have reacted much the same way I did:

I’m not gonna lie. If you’re reading this, you probaly shouldn’t see this movie. I’m betting 95% of you who do are gonna hate it. At the screening I saw it at, people were laughing and loudly criticizing (and for some reason one crazy dude was naming the makes and years of the cars parked on the streets). The people I saw it with, who were more polite, said it was a huge pile of shit.

And in some ways they got a point. The dialogue in this movie is terrible. (Apparently that wasn’t Roger Avary’s job on PULP FICTION). It’s best when it’s just about running around facing creepy obstacles. The more it gets into plot and conversations, the more it loses its momentum. It’s pretty muddled and confusing and has an awkward explanatory narration near the end and like most of the movies by this director, the frenchman Christophe Gans, it’s probaly too long. (By the way, I looked it up and Christophe Gans is NOT Chris Gaines, that famous singer who looked exactly like Garth Brooks but with a soul patch. I know, I thought so too but let’s clear up that misconception right here.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Rules of Attraction

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

Not even Mr. McTiernan’s ROLLERBALL managed to scare up as much hatred in movie critics as THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, the latest by Roger Avary, Oscar winning screenwriter best known as the guy who worked at the video store with Quentin Tarantino. I knew there were a handful of fans but many of the reviews were filled with the kind of angry blubbering you usually get when somebody talks about that last Batman and Robin movie or the 30th Anniversary version of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD where they added in extra scenes and changed the music. The kind of thing where you’re so appalled by the movie you can barely even speak English anymore. The film critic at a local alternative weekly interviewed Avary about the movie and the first question was “What were you thinking?”

So I was kind of surprised by how good the movie actually is. Sure it’s pretty pretentious. And if all you see is a “rich college kids are fucked up” message then no, it’s not an original message. But then neither is “war is hell” and that hasn’t made anyone declare the end of the war movie genre for all of eternity. I didn’t find this movie profound (I didn’t find it empty either) but I really thought the execution of it was exceptional. And there is some truth to the story it paints of people being attracted to horrible people and things turning out bad. (In fact, real bad.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Pulp Fiction

Monday, January 1st, 2001

Shit man I really can’t believe nobody told me about this movie! I’m out of the picture for most of the ’90s and all the sudden Bruce is in a classic film that is NOT a Die Hard!

This is the story of Butch Coolidge, a boxer who gets mixed up with a crime boss named Marcellus Wallace. Marcellus pays Bruce to throw a fight. Word spreads that the fix is on and the odds get out of control. Butch and his buddy in Tennessee make huge bets on the fight and then instead of throwing it, he beats the other dude to death.

He flees to a hotel to hook up with his lady friend Fabian who is French I believe. This scene is a study in contrasts because we see that this bad motherfucker who beats a man to death comes home to his lady and gets all cute on us. They’re all baby talking, rolling around on the bed snuggling and talking about “give me oral pleasure,” “will you kiss it,” etc., It’s so true to life it’s embarrassing to watch. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.